Overpunctuate??? No!!!

If you use other people’s business writing as models, you may wonder whether it is acceptable to use double or triple question marks and exclamation marks. After all, you have probably seen examples like this one: I love the new offices!!!

Is it acceptable to use two, three, or more punctuation marks in a row for emphasis? Choose your answer.

a. Yes!!!

b. No.

c. Sometimes??

In business writing, it is unnecessary and usually silly to double up on punctuation such as question marks and exclamation points. It takes more key strokes, and it conveys no additional information or emotion.

Yes! shows enthusiasm and decisiveness. Yes!!! shows excessive punctuation. It looks as though it should be pronounced as a squeal.

Why? expresses a straightforward question. Why???? expresses whiny desperation.

Of course, I am talking about business writing among adults. If you are a 12-year-old writing a diary, several punctuation marks in a row are probably appropriate for nearly all your sentences. That is what your life is like, right???!!!

You now have my opinion. Please tell me what you think.

As you have probably guessed, my answer to the question above is b. No.

Other search spellings: exlacmation, exlamtion, exclamaion, quesiton, quistion, queston, puncutation, punctaution, buisness, wiritng, wirting


  1. I could not agree more!!! (Oops.) My 12 year-old daughter uses more exclamation marks than letters in most of her emails.

    In business writing, I see over-punctuation as akin to ALL CAPS. It’s overkill and annoying. (And yet, I have been guilty of this sin, myself, so thanks for the reminder, Lynn.)

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